Trip Start Jan 14, 2013
27Trip End Apr 15, 2013
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When we decided to arrive in Quito on a Sunday we new the streets would be free of cars, bicycles only and street markets would be happening. We didn't realize we would be arriving on the first day of Ecuadors four day Carnival. The sun cooperated and we enjoyed a full day of street entertainment, excellent music and a parade through the old city streets. Carnival time is very much a family oriented event which means kids get to dress in costume, load up on foam canisters and fire at will at each other or anyone else in their path! It is also a time for families to pay their respects at the many beautiful churches and cathedrals
Quito sits around 9000 feet and as in Bogota you feel the altitude change immediately, especially coming from the coast. Day two we decided to take on the gondola trip up the local "Telefrico Mountain" as it is listed as a must see. The trip takes around ten minutes heading in a fairly vertical direction. About half way up we eerily glide into cloud nine and reach the top in pea soup. This base is now 13,247 feet and yes we are finding it a wee bit difficult to breathe. Even though its a slice of foggy mountain pie we decide to take a walk and find it similar to walking slow motion in the pool with someone giving you a hugabug
Finding a ATM open wasn't easy with the holidays on so I googled the old city to see what popped up. The first site I came across was a warning regarding "express kidnappings" in Quito where you are escorted to the ATM and politely asked to withdraw your cash. Surely this method would find us one that was open? Not to worry the article was from 2010. The police are now stationed at all ATM sites, banks, grocery stores, shoe shine corner, chicken BBQ stalls, all intersections and pretty much anywhere else you might find a gringo.
The ear busting thunderstorms that hit us remind us of home, just as loud and just as much rain but a little warmer at 15c. Our first test with our mec bullet proof rain jackets that pass with flying colours. We lick our Quito altitude sickness wounds, pack our bags once again and head for the bus station that will take us four hours south to Banos, the outdoor recreation capital of Ecuador.